Singapore Airlines boss thanks staff after turbulence incident


The boss of Singapore Airlines, Goh Choon Pong, has thanked the carrier’s staff for their hard work in the aftermath of a severe turbulence incident in which a British man died and tens more people were injured.

“The last five days have been immensely challenging for everyone at Singapore Airlines,” Mr Goh wrote in a memo seen by the BBC.

The message comes after flight SQ321 from London to Singapore diverted to Bangkok, Thailand after an incident over the Indian Ocean on 21 May.

The Boeing B777-ER was flown back to Singapore on Sunday.

“Our agility, dedication, and team spirit were evident during this period,” Mr Goh’s memo said.

“On behalf of the [Singapore Airlines] Board and the entire management team, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart,” he added.

Flight SQ321diverted to Bangkok last Tuesday due to a medical emergency, with 211 passengers and 18 crew members aboard.

Geoff Kitchen, a 73-year-old from Gloucestershire, died from a suspected heart attack after the plane was hit by turbulence, while more than 100 other people were treated at a hospital in the Thai capital.

Passengers and crew who were not seriously injured in the incident were flown to Singapore early the following day.

The memo also said the airline is continuing to support injured passengers and staff and that Mr Goh had personally visited the hospital last week.

In a video address the day after the incident, Mr Goh offered his deepest condolences to Mr Kitchen’s family and apologised to everyone affected.

Singapore Prime Minister Lawrence Wong also sent his condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased, adding that his country was “working closely with Thai authorities”.

He said Singapore’s Transport Safety Investigation Bureau would conduct a thorough investigation into the incident.

Accidents involving Singapore Airlines are rare, with the carrier consistently ranking among the world’s safest carriers.

The last fatal accident occurred in 2000, when a Boeing 747 crashed while attempting to take off from the wrong runway at a Taiwan airport.

Some 83 people of the 179 people onboard were killed.

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